Shooting for the Moon

I wrote previously of Pinhoe Target Shooting Club’s ambitious plans to extend their indoor facilities in Exeter (On Target issue 815 Autumn 2020) which at that time were proceeding frustratingly slowly for a number of reasons. Once the shell was finally completed by a local builder, members were able to undertake the internal fit out themselves and the project blossomed mainly due to a small group of hands-on members who dedicated a considerable amount of time and skill to finishing the project. I am now delighted to report that the much improved facilities are up and running.

The opening event in August attracted over 100 guests. Club member Andrew Vardon gave a very interesting opening address mentioning the history of the sport and the combining of all the clubs in Exeter on to this single site. Lord Clifford of Chudleigh kindly cut the ribbon and fired a well aimed shot after which the range was blessed by Rev David Cooper. The token first shots were fired on the ranges by some of the oldest and youngest members of the Club.

To recap due to amalgamation with four other Exeter based clubs, who were losing their facilities because of redeveloped, the club’s single 5 bay range was inadequate for the expected 120+ multi-disciplined membership. The new extension now provides two additional 5 bay 20yd/25yd/25m ranges (making 3 in total), a dedicated 7 bay 10m air range and a 2 bay 6m range for younger beginners together with additional storage, a large equipment room and additional armories. One major advantage is that the club no longer need to dedicate each day to a particular discipline as we can accommodate air rifle and pistol, LSR, prone and benchrest all at the same time on their own assigned range. This means that members from each discipline can mix so the club is more cohesive and we have members trying something ‘new’ on a regular basis. In conjunction with the internal ranges we have also improved our outdoor 50m range, rebuilding the butts with clean spoil from the building excavation works.

The project was funded with generous grants from Sport England, Viridor Credits and substantial contributions from PTSC members. The Club consider they now have the best indoor facilities in the Southwest and will attract many high profile members and events. In fact a further generous grant from Viridor Credits has allowed the Club to commission a small extension linking the old and new buildings and to improve our rather muddy car park. These works are due to start in the new year. We still have to tidy the external spaces and I am sure work in this area will follow.

Our membership is looking promising as we have experienced a huge influx of new members which the Club now has the capacity to welcome to the sport. The membership is flourishing for several reasons firstly the Club spirit has returned as we all have facilities to be proud of. Secondly there was a backlog of interested new members wishing to join who had been frustrated by the pandemic. Thirdly due to the number of new members we have initiated and trained them in groups which has required a lot of input from existing club members but has produced great results with most new members converting to probationary, staying the course and trying different disciplines. This indicates that not only do we need good facilities we also need good club infrastructure which in some ways is harder than the building project however we are tackling this with gusto and are producing good results so far.

On a personal note I joined PTSC with my father Terry after a break from shooting of some 25 years however I am sorry to say that Terry has now passed away after a short illness. I am pleased to have been involved in the project as the Club’s architect and I am happy knowing Terry and myself enjoyed the time we had shooting again side by side.

Article written by Rob Boulton